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Nebraska, Big 12 settle for $9.255 million; Colorado to leave after 2011

Nebraska’s cost for leaving the Big 12: $9.255 million. Colorado’s: $6.86 million.

That’s the amount of revenue that will be withheld from the schools by the Big 12 Conference as a penalty for them leaving the conference following this season, the Big 12 announced on Tuesday. The moves mean the Big 12 will field 10 teams in 2011-12 after Nebraska moves to the Big Ten and Colorado moves to the Pac-10 on July 1.

Nebraska will receive an additional $500,000, however, if it is one of two Big 12 teams to play in a Bowl Championship Series game.

Nebraska's penalty appears to be about a one-season take of revenue distributed by the conference to the school. In 2007-08, the Cornhuskers received $9.1 million from the Big 12. In 2008-09 it was $9.7 million.

The Cornhuskers had already decided to head to the Big Ten on July 1, but also Tuesday, University of Colorado regents authorized the school’s chancellor to move forward with plans for the school to join the Pac-10 next season.

Colorado’s settlement agreement with the Big 12 will only cost the school $6.86 million in revenues from the conference. The Buffaloes received about $8 million from the Big 12 in 2007-08.

The revenue is primarily from media contracts, bowl games and the NCAA basketball tournament and most of it is shared equally. For 2009-10, the Big 12 distributed a record $139 million from this pool to the members and the per-school amounts range from around $8 million to $12 million.

The Big 12, under its bylaws, had sought to withhold an estimated $19.4 million from Nebraska and between $15 million and $20 million from Colorado.

Here are the dueling statements, first from Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe.

“This agreement was accomplished through a collegial, respectful process among the Conference, its institutions, and the University of Nebraska that led to a resolution that all parties believe is fair. I appreciate the cooperation of Chancellor Harvey Perlman and Nebraska staff. The Big 12 has enjoyed its relationship with Nebraska and wishes it well in the future.”

And from Nebraska:

“The University of Nebraska believes this is a fair settlement of our disagreement regarding the appropriateness in this instance of imposing any monetary fee on the university for withdrawing from the conference. We continue to value our ongoing relationships with the institutions of the Big 12 and have great respect for their leadership and the leadership of the conference,” said Chancellor Harvey Perlman.

Everybody involved -- Colorado, the Big 12 and the Pac-10 -- wanted the move to happen sooner rather than later. But this was more important to the Pac-10.

Starting next season, the Big 12 will no longer have a football championship game with 10 members and will go to a nine-game football schedule. But the Pac-10 needed Colorado to join in 2011-12, giving the conference 12 teams and the ability to start a football championship game. Utah also becomes a member next season.

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